NASHVILLE, Tenn. ? The 10 Austin Southern Baptists who volunteered to help in this year’s Crossover evangelistic blitz may think they live in Hill Country, but the street they were assigned for their door-to-door visits in Tennessee proved a lot steeper than any Texas incline they knew of.
That didn’t deter the group from joining approximately 150 members and visitors at Judson Baptist Church on Nashville’s south side. Armed with free Holman Christian Standard Bibles to give away and bottles of water to keep them refreshed, the Texas contingent traveled by foot from house to house, most of them situated on two-acre lots.
“We plowed some hard ground today,” stated Michael Lewis, pastor of Great Hills Baptist Church of Austin. Of the dozen or so visits his team made, most of the people answering their doors professed to be Christians. Only after working through the survey questions asking why people attend church, whether Bible reading is helpful and how the local church might serve them better could the volunteers sense whether the resident claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The 80-something Nazarene woman patiently listened as Lewis conducted the survey, ultimately asking if she’d like to accept Jesus as her personal Savior. “Well, I thought I’d already done that, but you wanted preach a sermon,” she told the Texas pastor. Team members assured her they wanted to make sure she understood the gospel message and laughed at her blunt response as she clarified her commitment.
Lewis wasn’t taking any chance on being misunderstood as he delivered a clear presentation of the gospel at every door that was opened. That included a retired LifeWay employee who was grateful for the opportunity to fellowship with other Southern Baptists. He welcomed the foursome into his home to pray with his wife who was dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
“Here’s my list of the preachers we watch each week,” the man shared, naming Ed Young of Houston and Ronnie Floyd of Springdale, Ark. When he pointed to a picture of his recently married daughter, the Texas group discovered that she lives in the same town as Lewis and he encouraged the father to point her to the nearby Austin church.
The next household listened carefully to the FAITH presentation, affirming their trust in Jesus Christ. Seventeen-year-old Roy Stewart understood the importance of taking the gospel to the people, having trusted Christ as his Savior only a few months earlier.
“A friend invited me to Great Hills and I listened to Pastor Lewis preach each week and got saved,” Stewart explained. Now he’s a part of a youth group that regularly shares the gospel with other teenagers. “We made 16 stops and shared the gospel five times,” Stewart told the Judson Baptist members. ‘Those driveways were like that,” he added, aiming his hand straight upward.
“People are talking about how hot it is here,” stated Candy Devany of Pflugerville, Texas. “Oh, come on?this is beautiful,” she told the group at Judson Baptist. On her team’s last visit they presented the gospel message to a young Muslim teenager and were at the point of praying with her when the father interrupted them. “She had said she wanted to accept the forgiveness God made available, but when her dad walked out he shared that they were Muslim. It was a good conversation and I think God will use this young girl who is open.”
One of the Nashville church volunteers told of their visits in a nearby neighborhood, expressing appreciation for the involvement of Texans Liliana Lewis and David Brandt, both from Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin. After nine visits, no one had professed faith in Christ, he said, “but Liliana said we have to do one more visit.”
Approaching a nearby house that was not on their list of assignments, they found a woman with three young children. “This young girl didn’t speak English so Liliana took over and I heard the entire FAITH presentation in Spanish,” added the Judson Baptist church member. The Lord was in that visit. Both the mom and her 7-year-old daughter gave their lives to Jesus.”
Turning to the Texans, he added, “We just want to praise God for that. Liliana is a great lady and I know she’s a blessing to your church.”
“I learned a lot today about visiting,” shared Murph Cathcart of Nashville. Teaming up with Texans James and Peggy Tisdale, the longtime Judson Baptist member said, “James told me to go and knock on the door, tell them my name is Murph and this is James and Peggy and we have a little survey. Then he would take over.”
“We do this all the time at home,” stated Tisdale, who currently serves as transitional pastor at Andice Baptist Church in Florence, Texas. Pointing to Murph, he added